Free yourself with quiet time: How to unlock your team’s creativity in the workplace
By Debra Sutton, Head of Marketing, Australia & New Zealand at ServiceNow
Debra Sutton, Head of Marketing, Australia and New Zealand at ServiceNow, discusses how a creative workplace helps to engage her employees over a cup of Nespresso Professional coffee
It used to be that creativity was reserved for those in more artistic lines of work. Marketing was one of few ‘engine rooms’ for creativity. Today, creativity is anyone’s for the taking. I see creativity bursting from every department and industry, from IT and HR, right through to sales. Creativity isn’t just good for business, it is also an indicator of a happy and healthy workplace.
The challenge is how to unlock creativity, when we are so busy just ‘doing’. Menial tasks, emails and meetings take up hours and days. So I started looking at the tools and technologies that could give me back time. Time for thinking and harnessing renewed creative energy – which can be contagious in a workplace.
Here are some of my recommendations to unlocking creativity in the workplace:
Create the right culture
One of the main enablers (or inhibitors) of creativity in the workplace is a company’s culture. By creating an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration you create a great employee experience for your people. In turn, this increases happiness, people become more productive and talent is retained. The challenge in creating such a culture is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we need to find the moments that matter most and find small ways to encourage creativity. Whether that be enabling the quiet times to think or brainstorming with a team when it’s needed – sometimes people just need encouragement and permission to unlock this. I see it every day working with my team as we tackle a range of challenges, whether big or small. When my team’s daily challenges are approached with a sense of problem-solving and creativity, my employees become more engaged and driven.
Make it meaningful
Meaning matters. Whether you’re talking productivity, job satisfaction or all-round employee happiness. This is equally true for cultivating an environment for creativity to thrive in the workplace. Engaged and inspired employees are those who find meaning and purpose in their work, who believe they are making a difference. Of course, not every role in a business or every business itself has the capacity to enact social change, nor should we expect it to. It is more about ensuring the bulk of an employee’s time on the clock is spent doing tasks that matter – both on a micro and macro level – and align with their own personal path. We’ve found this to be especially true in Australia. Research conducted by ServiceNow* reveals that 58% of Aussies have said that they are wishing for meaningful work – yet 42% of their day is unfortunately spent on undertaking menial tasks, something we’re hoping to change in all organisations globally.
Tap into technology
From social media to automation, technology is becoming increasingly ingrained and impactful in our lives. Leading businesses understand the importance of creativity in driving them forward. They know that by employing the right technology, readily available today, employees are relieved of more menial duties and are free to focus on creative, innovative and meaningful work. At ServiceNow, we see the future of work being built around people – where organisations and technology adapt to meet human needs. It’s about tapping into the power and daily benefits of technology to make the world of work, work better for people. For example, maximising the one-touch technology of Nespresso Professional coffee machines to create quality coffee in the office without the need to leave your building. We believe the next wave of innovation in technology in the workplace will make our work lives as seamless and easy as our personal lives, with simple and time-saving solutions unlocking productivity and creativity.
Nespresso Professional coffee is a favourite perk at ServiceNow, offering a well-deserved break or encouraging creativity in a brainstorming session
Design to inspire
Creativity is after all a product of inspiration. As a result, more and more companies are taking a holistic approach to inspiring creativity within their workplace; a big part of this being office aesthetics. While we can’t all give our office a top-to-toe makeover, when it comes to creativity, our environment plays a role, so it pays to do what you can to give it a chance to spark. Even small additions like some fresh office greenery, quiet thinking spaces, a comfy new couch in the break area, or investing in a high-quality coffee for the office kitchen can make a big difference. At ServiceNow, we believe in a ‘culture of belonging’, providing a modern and collaborative place of work focusing on the well-being and work-life balance of employees.
Collaboration is key
While we all prefer to work in different ways, sometimes as individuals and at other times as a collective, there’s truth to the adage ‘two heads are better than one’. Collaboration allows us to tap into perspectives that we would likely never consider, no matter how much time and thinking we dedicate to a task. It provides an opportunity to sense-check, build on and refine our ideas. The best part is, the sense of accomplishment to be found in shared ideation and problem solving, which can help form closer relationships within the workplace - setting in motion a positive, future-thinking wheel of workplace creativity.
Whether you’re an office focused on delivering above and beyond client service or a hotel or restaurant dedicated to exceeding guests’ ever-changing expectations (or anywhere in between), knowing how to unlock your team’s creativity is essential. It’s crucial for establishing a workplace that is primed to overcome the challenges you’re faced with, no matter how large or small. It’s not just a good idea, it’s good business.
ServiceNow is making the world of work, work better for people. Its cloud based platform and solutions deliver digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity for employees and the enterprise
* ServiceNow commissioned YouGov to conduct research on menial vs meaningful work in Australia. The sample comprises of 1,012 white collar workers aged 18 years and over throughout Australia, who are working in offices of companies with 50+ employees.